By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Miriam Rozen's article on the Crow family dealings ["The Crow-Qadhafi connection," December 22] with Libyan political figure Mohammed El Bukhari was quite an investigative piece, and rather good until its, ahem, racist climax.
The penultimate paragraph, a diatribe by a friend of the Crows against doing business with an entire ethnic group, is quoted as if it represents serious commentary: "'Arabs,' sneered Chuck Dyer...'they talk to you about a deal, you don't hear from them for months, and then they call you up and want a favor.'" (He forgot to mention the hooked noses.)
Ms. Rozen, who earlier notes with justified disapproval Crow son-in-law Henry Billingsley's anti-Semitic comments about doing business with "Hebraic chieftains," apparently seems to find quotable as profound observation a dire warning about doing business with, presumably, Arab chieftains. In other words, in Ms. Rozen's world, it's wrong to cast aspersions on Semitic group A but downright insightful to smear Semitic group B. I guess this is post-modernist anti-Semitism, perfectly acceptable even to "progressive" publications.
The moral of the article becomes not "greed tempts Crows into murky dealings," but "don't do business with them Ayrabs." The first is factually based and good journalism. The second is prejudiced and bad journalism. The first is cultivated by good editors. The second is sent back for a rewrite.
Jennifer Briggs fan
I am anything but a sports fan. Indeed, prior to reading Jennifer Briggs' "Offsides" column, "Baseball's Biggest S.O.B." [December 29], I couldn't have identified Ty Cobb's vocation, not to mention my ignorance of his dubious character. And Pete Rose, well, the name was familiar: he played...ah...baseball, no? Such is my level of "sports-awareness."
Even so, I found Ms. Briggs' piece thoroughly engrossing, and I can only attribute this to her talent as a writer. Here, she attacks multiple complex issues--albeit issues regarding sports ethics--with a provocative directness, with a roving, analytically aggressive viewpoint, scanning facts and drawing acute inferences, while never over-simplifying gray areas; and, better still, she writes in the most precise, tight, careful language I've encountered in the Observer in a long time.
Michael A. Mulder
Salsa survival guide
I was delighted to read "Echale Salsita" in the December 22 issue. I'm an Anglo who has had an ongoing passion for salsa and merengue for several years, and your article expressed some of the excitement I feel for this music. I remember Genaro's, have been to the Latin Jazz Festival, and danced at Topacio and Tren Latino.
De la Vega says he'd like to see salsa taken to the Anglo community. The music at Topacio is great, absolutely great. But don't go there without a mate or a date. As for Tren Latino, your article sums it up with the phrase "...the El Tren regulars..." Everybody knows everybody, and if you're not a member of that club, you're odd man out. Now I stay home and get my "fix" by listening to my tapes.
I just loved the great article about salsa music. However, I could not help being amused--and dismayed--by a few points. First, the source who felt compelled to make a distinction between Latinos and Tejanos. Excuse me, but aren't Tejanos Latinos as well?
Then the culture clash between Tejanos and salseros. If you don't like a particular style of music, no law says that you have to like it just because you come from a particular ethnic background. After all, the most famous Mexican song of all time, "La Bamba," owes more than a few debts to African culture, and I have yet to attend a Mexican-American wedding reception where it has not been played. Ironic, isn't it?
Because of an editor's error, first assistant city manager Cliff Keheley was misidentified in a photograph that accompanied the January 5 cover story, "The arena papers." The caption incorrectly identified Keheley as city auditor Dan Paul.